PM set on po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to bailout fix

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras re­mains de­ter­mined to seek a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to an im­passe in bailout talks be­tween Greece and its in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors even though his one-on-one meet­ing with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel be­fore Christ­mas failed to yield any sub­stan­tial sup­port for Greek de­mands for debt re­lief and less aus­ter­ity.

Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in­sist that the pace of the Greek econ­omy’s re­cov­ery can­not jus­tify any fur­ther pro­cras­ti­na­tion by the cred­i­tors and any fur­ther ob­struc­tive tac­tics would sug­gest po­lit­i­cal mo­tives. In pri­vate, aides close to Tsipras in­di­cate that de­lay­ing tac­tics are prob­a­bly linked to the de­sire of some Euro­pean of­fi­cials to see the de­par­ture of the left­ist-led coali­tion.

Some be­lieve the gov­ern­ment’s ten­dency to see plans to un­der­mine the ad­min­is­tra­tion at ev­ery turn – in com­ments by Euro­pean of­fi­cials but also in crit­i­cal re­ports in the for­eign media – is an at­tempt to cre­ate a nar­ra­tive that will be use­ful if Tsipras is obliged to call snap elec­tions.

For the time be­ing, Tsipras and his aides are in­sist­ing pub­licly that the gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­ity re­mains the re­sump­tion of bailout talks with Greece’s cred­i­tors as soon as pos­si­ble with the aim of se­cur­ing the coun­try’s in­clu­sion in the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing pro­gram. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos is to have a se­ries of talks with Euro­pean of­fi­cials with this goal in mind in the com­ing days in a bid to win sup­port at the forth­com­ing Euro Work­ing Group meet­ing on Jan­uary 12 and the Eurogroup sum­mit on Jan­uary 26.

Rhetoric aside, the gov­ern­ment must deal with its fad­ing pop­u­lar­ity, which is ex­pected to worsen as a se­ries of new taxes – on fuel and cof­fee among other things – have come into ef­fect this month.

Com­ment­ing yes­ter­day, New Democ­racy spokesman Vas­silis Kik­il­ias ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of “giv­ing ev­ery­thing to the cred­i­tors in ex­change for stay­ing in power.” “It also ad­mits that it’s dis­cussing a new, fourth mem­o­ran­dum, but it calls it a ‘fis­cal path,’” Kik­il­ias added.

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